Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Antonio Sacre
Illustrator: Sebastia Serra
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
“Well, mi’jo, it looks like you learned a valuable lesson … Sometimes, it’s better to give than to receive,” Francisco’s papa says to his son in one of several proverbs written in Antonio Sacre’s children’s story, A Mango in the Hand - A Story Told Through Proverbs.
This over-sized hardbound book is unnumbered but around thirty pages and has an illustration of a boy up in a tree picking mangos among bumblebees as neighbors watch nearby on the front cover. Catering toward bilingual wording, the tome is targeted toward preschool to early elementary age English speaking children who want to learn more Spanish words. With the easy-to-read font and no obviously scary scenes, a young reader will not only learn new words but their meanings in the one page Spanish glossary at the end of the book. Artist Serra’s drawings are colorful, detailed with shadows and expressions and engaging to look at throughout the book.
It is a special day for young Francisco. After a cup of coffee with milk, the boy is allowed to pick mangos alone from the neighborhood tree. After passing Tio Tito, Abuela and crabby Tia Clara’s houses, he climbs the tree but is scared off by all the bees buzzing around his head so returns home. His father encourages him to try again by giving him a hat to wear to gently push the bees away. On his second try, he places the mangos in the hat but they fall, splatting on the ground. He takes off his shirt to keep the bees away and, once again, goes home empty-handed. By the third try, the child collects the mangos but gives them out one by one to those he sees on his way home, including crabby Tia Clara, who is nicer than he expected.
In the end, Francisco has no mangos left to bring back to his family but later the neighbors visit, thanking him for being so nice. Spread throughout the storyline are several proverbs such as “Nothing bad happens that good doesn’t come of it,” “He who tries to grab too much, gets too little,” “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” “Tell me with whom you walk, and I’ll tell you who you are,” and “Love is repaid with love.”
Without being overtly assertive, this book is a wonderful way to introduce manners, thinking of others and sharing with our children. Sacre does an encouraging, enjoyable and enthusiastic job of promoting perseverance and the aspect to love one another.
Follow Here To Purchase A Mango in the Hand: A Story Told Through Proverbs